Path To College: 11th Grade

11th Grade is Time to Focus

Junior year of high school is when you really start to engage in active college preparation. 

This year, your goal will be to focus on the skills and activities that you’ll want to highlight on your application. And you’ll want to start imagining what your college journey might look like. 

Focus on Academics

Academics should be a key focus of your junior year.

Take the most advanced classes you can, especially in areas that interest you. However, it’s ok not to take every AP course—too much work can be stressful and may compromise your GPA. 

Remember to focus on developing quality organizational skills, good time management skills, and excellent note taking skills and study habits. These skills will help you continue to succeed in high school and set you up for success in college as well. 

Build Relationships with Teachers and College Counselors

Your teachers and school counselors play a critical role in helping you prepare for college, especially your junior and senior years. 

So don’t be shy—take the time to get to know them and to help them get to know you. These relationships will be critical once it’s time to ask for letters of recommendations. 

Begin College Research

During your junior year, you’ll want to start building a list of potential colleges and fields of study. Some specific factors to think about during this research phase include:

  • Location
  • Size
  • State or private
  • Available programs of study
  • Specialized programs you may be interested in
  • Sports, clubs, and extracurriculars
  • Atmosphere and student body
  • Cost and potential for available scholarships

Attending college fairs is a great way to learn about many different schools and hear directly from admissions officers. 

Your research should also include some college tours and discussions with college admissions officers. 

It’s ok if you don’t have the time or the money to plan an extensive tour visiting college campuses around the country, however. Visiting local colleges is a great way to explore different types of colleges to see what you might like. 

And many colleges today offer virtual tours and meetings with admissions officers. 

Take the SAT or ACT

If you plan to take standardized tests, you’ll want to complete one before the end of your junior year. If you don’t like your score, you have time to study and retake the test again before applications are due.

The two most common standardized tests are the SAT and the ACT. If a college requires standardized tests, they will likely accept either of these two tests. However, you should check specific admission requirements at colleges where you are likely to apply.

Sign up for a Summer College Program

Taking a college class may be one of the best things you can do to prepare for college life. 

Participating in a college program for high school students will help you understand the difference between high school and college academics. It will give you the opportunity to explore a potential major. Depending on the program, you may even be able to earn college credit.

And living on a college campus will give you a preview of what it’s like to make decisions on your own and balance studying with socializing. 

11th Grade Timeline


  • Get applications for the colleges you wish to attend and be aware of application deadlines
  • Sign up for the ACT or SAT test and SAT Subject tests required (Also known as the SAT II) – you only have until December of your senior year to complete tests
  • To register for the SAT, go to
  • To register for the ACT, go to
  • Visit to chart your high school grades online, get a head start on your CSU college applications, watch virtual college tours, look up college campus facts, and much more


  • Finish your essay for college admissions
  • Attend college fairs and make additional visits to college campuses
  • Attend informational meetings such as senior college night and financial aid night. Be aware of college application deadlines. CSU is Oct. 1- Nov. 30 and UC is Nov. 1 – 30
  • Make sure you visit the College and Career Center on a regular basis for information on career assessments, scholarships, as well as visits from college reps


  • Submit admissions application (electronically preferred) to UC and CSU systems
  • Request letters of recommendation by November 1st
  • Begin to send in private college/university applications as due
  • Begin to send in private college/university applications as due
  • Begin researching possible career options at the Career Center in H2 and websites such as
  • Keep your grades up!


  • Last months to take the ACT or SATs!
  • Apply for your and your parent’s financial aid PIN # at for use with the FAFSA online application
  • Review the FAFSA application online at with your family before you begin
  • The FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid – you should never pay to apply!


  • Send your midyear grade reports to private colleges that require it
  • Start filling out the FAFSA application at – the online application is available from Jan. 2 – March 2… do not procrastinate!
  • If you’re not applying to a 4-year college, inquire about community colleges and career options
  • Continue to research scholarship opportunities by visiting the College and Career Center in H2 and online at
  • File the FAFSA no later than March 2
  • Make sure you’ve sent in your GPA verification forms for Cal Grant
  • Apply to community colleges and register for placement exams
  • Follow specific campus guidelines regarding housing
  • Check in with the Career Center to discuss possible career options, summer jobs, and internships – also check out sites like,, and!


  • Check with the College Office for dates when community college representatives will be on campus to help with your online application and registration for placement exams
  • Register for AP exams with the College Office
  • Start preparing your resume with help from the Career Center and sites like


  • Regular decision admission letters arrive
  • Discuss the financial aid package with your family
  • Send in the acceptance notice to your chosen school and make sure to send in your deposit by May 1
  • Decline offers of admission from remaining colleges
  • Keep your grades up!


  • SAT I or SAT II
  • AP exams
  • Plan a challenging senior year


  • SAT I or SAT II (writing, math & third)
  • ACT
  • Study hard for your finals


  • Do something extraordinary!
  • Send for applications
  • Begin your personal statement/essay for college
  • Study for your SAT’s

9th Grade Matters

Cleveland Humanities Magnet graduates are attending the finest colleges and universities in the country.